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Almost every seasoned parent knows that feeling – that exciting, heart-pounding rush when they slowly let go of their child’s bike seat and watch them pedal down the sidewalk all on their own. It’s a thrilling milestone.

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Would you be willing to pay $200 for Tylenol or $600 for a car seat inspection? These prices sound crazy, right? However, many healthcare visits are followed up with invoices sent to insurance carriers containing similar line items.

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In 1980, amendment to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (ERISA) brought plans maintained by church-affiliated organizations into ERISAs church plan definition, but it left unclear whether a church-affiliated organization could establish a church plan. In several lawsuits, participants in retirement plans maintained by church-affiliated hospitals asserted that the plans did not qualify for the exemption – and thus were subject to ERISAs vesting, reporting and disclosure, funding, trust and fiduciary rules – because they had not been established by a church. The Third, Seventh and Ninth Circuits agreed with the participants and ruled that the hospital plans were subject to ERISA.

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Stage two of repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) is now underway as focus shifts to the Senate, where significant changes are expected to be made to the American Health Care Act (AHCA)  as passed by the House. Regardless of what happens next, employers need to know what is in the  House-passed version in order to evaluate the potential impact if it becomes law (whether significantly revised or not).

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Change is inevitable – we hear this all the time. While I’m not aware of any mandate that says as much, it often seems that change correlates with the moment we finally get comfortable doing something a certain way. Over time I’ve learned to accept Pluto's demotion, but it seems counting the planets in our solar system at eight was premature. With each New Year, I eventually start writing the correct date on my checks. My children have all come with new, fluctuating guidelines on when to introduce peanut butter. Change can be frustrating, but we learn to adapt.

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Remember that story about the three little pigs and the big bad wolf? It had an important message, but as children we were probably just relieved to learn that one of the pigs outsmarted the big bad wolf. As you may recall, the old fable was about three little pigs who were each building a house. The first little pig quickly built a house of straw, while the second little pig built a house of sticks. The third little pig worked hard all day to build a house of bricks. One day, the big bad wolf paid them all a visit. He huffed and puffed and quickly blew the straw and stick houses down. The big bad wolf then found the third little pig’s house. He huffed and he puffed, but he couldn’t blow down the strong house made of brick. Determined to get in, the big bad wolf climbed on the roof and slid down the chimney, but the third little pig had a cauldron of boiling water waiting on the fire and the wolf met his demise. The lesson was simple, but significant. A little hard work and preparation can pay off.

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Have you ever been caught in the rain without an umbrella? As your clothes got soaked and your shoes filled with water, you probably thought with frustration, “Why didn’t I have my umbrella today?” Sometimes it’s easy to plan for life’s unexpected storms – like keeping a small umbrella in your purse or briefcase. That’s why we encourage you to consider a personal umbrella policy. It might keep you from asking a similar question if you’re ever faced with large personal insurance claim.

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The world is waiting. What will you become? 

How many times were you asked this growing up? More than you can count? You’d think we’d all have pretty good answers by the time we reached adulthood, but for many, the answer does not come easily. Iowa Western Community College (IWCC) understands that people often need an encouraging atmosphere to explore their strengths and fine-tune their skills before they can carve out their path. Located in the Loess Hills of Council Bluffs, Iowa, this campus has been a place of self-discovery and opportunity for 50 years. Growing from an inaugural enrollment of just seven students to nearly 6,000, IWCC has become an educational staple in its region. Students choose IWCC for many reasons – whether it’s to build a career with its construction technology program or to learn about the innovative field of robotics and automated technology, the possibilities are nearly endless with 84 vocational / technical / liberal arts programs to choose from. Ready for an education? It’s time to learn more about IWCC.

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Last week, the House of Representatives passed yet another version of healthcare reform legislation (yawn!) to which their colleagues in the U.S. Senate responded, “No thank you, we’ll start from scratch with our own reform package!” And so the saga continues: to reform or not to reform, that is the question. But on the off-chance that this latest version of reform ever sees the light of day, here is a short summary of the provisions of the American Health Care Act (AHCA).

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Since late 2013, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) has been working on a revision to Title 29 of the United States Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) Parts 1902 and 1904. The primary purpose of the amendment is to improve the tracking of workplace injuries and illnesses. Adoption of the final ruling was released on May 12, 2016, and the components applicable to reporting are set to become effective on January 1, 2017. Anti-retaliatory regulations were initially slated to become effective on August 10, 2016, but due to industry concerns with the scope of these regulations, the implementation date has been delayed (at the time of this writing) to November 1, 2016. The delay will impact the anti-retaliatory components that directly affect the ability of employers to perform post-injury drug screens. Given the current and impending changes, it is important that employers understand the new rules and ensure that their post-injury drug testing policies are compliant with the guidelines set forth and enforced by OSHA.

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